Depression is something Christians don’t talk about much. Some are embarrassed by it, deeming it a weakness. Others believe that they are supposed to present a joyful countenance all the time, every day. Others adopt a plan of fake it till you make it.
So I was surprised and heartened to read Drew Dyck’s heartfelt sharing of his own journey through a long-term depression which was also punctuated by panic attacks. Mr Dyck is an acquisitions editor at Moody Publishers and a senior editor at CTPastors.com. He’s the author of Yawning at Tigers (2014) and Generation Ex: Christian (2010).
It’s always risky when one is open about something that some parts of society stigmatize. He muses on some of that in his article, as he shares the lessons he’d learned. His article is here:
Did you know that the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, suffered from depression? It seems strange that on the surface, this man who was a global success at preaching, writing, pastoring, founding colleges, orphanages, and married to a wonderful woman, could ever be depressed. But he was. There are numerous resources available recounting it, including many of his own writings, but this can get you started:
Martyn Lloyd-Jones was a physician and then a preacher. In 1960 he began preaching on depression in a lengthy sermon series which can be listened to here. The sermon series was also made into a book, “Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure”. The Amazon blurb introducing the books states,
[Lloyd-Jones] carefully and compassionately analyzes an undeniable feature of modern society from which Christians have not escaped — spiritual depression.
What robs Christians of the joy that is theirs? Why does faith’s vitality drain away, leaving melancholy and anxiety it its place? In the sermons, Lloyd-Jones explores the cause and the cure.
David certainly had his own ups and downs. We read in Psalm 43:4,
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
Mr Dyck says that prayer and Scripture were a tremendous source of comfort in the valley (especially the Psalms). It would be wrong and neglectful of me to leave off the Bible itself as a resource. Especially the Psalms.
Though the Bible is its own premier resource, Mr Dyck shares that the person suffering from depression “finds it hard to even muster the energy or concentration to engage deeply in spiritual practices.” He advises asking others to pray for you when your depression sinks you too low to open His word.
Therefore we have the greatest resource of all: the Body of Christ in prayer and supplication, appealing to the Great Physician, Jesus, in prayer.
All these resources and more are available to you if you happen to be suffering from persistent panic, anxiety or depression.
Insufficient Help, Part 1: Grace To You’s recounting of a depressed, suicidal young man seeking help from church counselors in addition to doctors and secular therapists, who eventually took his own life. The church was sued. Did the church offer insufficient help? Are Biblical counselors qualified to use the Bible in therapy?
Overwhelmed by Anxiety? A blog series on attacking the anxiety that is attacking you.